AS YOU WAIT FOR THE VETERINARIAN
• Leave any embedded objects in place. Your veterinarian will remove the penetrating object to determine how deep the wound is as well as what structures might have been affected. Especially in the case of the hoof, an x-ray with the object in place may be needed to determine the tract and extent of the injury.
• Save the object, if it is not still embedded. The width and depth of the object, as well as how dirty or rusty it is, can provide clues to the injury. But it’s even more important to determine whether the object appears to be whole or whether broken bits may remain inside the wound.
• Keep the horse quiet and calm. Avoid unnecessary movement that may exacerbate the wound or drive the object deeper. If a nail or other penetrating object is still lodged in the underside of the hoof, do your best to hold the foot up until the veterinarian arrives. If you can’t keep the hoof elevated that long, get a helper to bring several small blocks of wood. With a careful wrap job, you can tape the blocks in place in a way that allows the horse to put the foot down without driving the object in deeper; of course you’ll need to supervise the horse wearing such a wrap until the veterinarian arrives.
• Rinse the area, gently, with clean water or isotonic saline solution, and apply a topical antiseptic. Use only a water-based product at this stage so your veterinarian can remove it easily, if necessary. If the hair is long, you may try clipping the area around the wound, if the horse will allow it.